Hello and thank you for visiting!
Sunday, Nov. 30, is the First Sunday of Advent. To commemorate the new Church year and the upcoming World Meeting of Families in 2015, there will be a Holy Hour for the Family and Mass said by His Excellency, Archbishop Chaput.
We are inviting you to come at 5:00 PM, wearing your parish colors, to show the Archbishop and our fellow brothers and sisters that we care about what is happening within the Archdiocese. Over forty churches have closed in the last 13 months, many of them in the city serving the poor, the elderly, the disabled and troubled. Yes, these are the people who don’t use envelopes, who didn’t know that you have to come to church in October to be counted in the annual census but who come to the church when they are in need of help. There are no “office hours” for those in need.
The plan is to sell your real estate and nursing homes (whose residents are mostly the elderly who built these churches and funded the Archdiocese faithfully) to balance the bottom line. Forget that pastoral care and love of those whom many consider unlovable is why our Church was founded!
Use a PPA process which again and again we hear did not involve the parishioners and was “pre-ordained” as to whom remained open and who closed. In Frankford, there was an extra bonus, both Mater Dolorosa and St. Joachim closed – neither had debt, St. Joachim had an Oblate Pastor and, now, there is no Catholic Church in Frankford. While both St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa are Worship Sites, we’ve never had weekly Masses. We get an annual Feast Day Mass and, if we’re lucky someone gets married or bless their souls, has a funeral and we can go to Mass. We have renamed St. Joachim, the Church of the Locked Gates. (We have had a weekly prayer service at 8 AM every Sunday morning since we closed July 1, 2013. We used to do 4:30 PM on Saturday and 10:30 AM on Sunday, too, but we’re good Catholics and we do have to go to Mass.)
But we are still there working to reopen a Church and standing with our brothers and sisters throughout this Archdiocese who have undergone the same “process” and experienced the same feelings of injustice. We have been blessed with many neighborhood churches. There is no question some of our churches had to close but there are many questions about some of the churches that did close. Reaching out to Archbishop Chaput continually begets the answer, different words, but the same sentiment, “The decision has been made and it will not be changed.” Well, that conversation went well! St. Joachim did file an appeal and we are awaiting our day with the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican Supreme Court).
This is not about a building, or even our particular church, it’s about our faith, how we live it and whom we serve. For 17 months, we have been working to be the Catholic presence in Frankford. We were so graciously invited by the Dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church to come there and hold our meetings and try to keep our parish family together and serve the community. There is a food cupboard there run by Court St. Frances de Sales #2617 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, we participate in the Northeast Dining with Dignity program preparing meals and bag lunches every 6-8 weeks and offering community events that are open to all. We have taken the “Joy of the Gospel” to heart.
As I close, because I could go on and on, I’m thinking that if Archbishop Chaput doesn’t want to listen, maybe the Pope will! There are many who feel that the Archbishop of Philadelphia has turned his back on them. This is not something to celebrate!
Archbishop Chaput, before you host the worlds’ families, how about meeting with your Archdiocesan families?